A Brazilian car washer caused some of his loved ones to faint and others to run away in fear when he strolled into his mother’s home during his own funeral, police said yesterday. I am aware of this because the Toronto Star wrote about it, and during its first 12 hours the story was one of the most shared news reports out of Canada on the web (alongside two about hockey). I learned this through Spike, a tool that uses social metrics to track the world’s hottest news stories.
Developed by Dublin-based start-up NewsWhip and launched in beta last week, Spike uses tracking technology to find out which stories are getting the most attention on Facebook and Twitter. Users can monitor the web’s most viral stories by time frame (published in the past one, three, 12 or 24 hours), by region (currently the site has an Anglo-Saxon focus, but it is expanding) by topic, and by publisher. NewsWhip has designed Spike as a pro tool for journalists, and plans to begin charging later this year, according to Journalisk.co.uk. Until November 7, however, the tool is free for anyone to use without signing up.